December 9, 2020
Last updated on December 22, 2020
Up to 200 South Australian social enterprises will have access to a national marketplace of corporate sector and Government customers through an initiative designed to create jobs for those most in need.
Social enterprises are businesses that invest the majority of their resources into community initiatives, including creating jobs and training pathways for disadvantaged communities.
National organisation Social Traders operates a marketplace that works to help social enterprises access the buying power of some of Australia’s biggest brands across the construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, higher education and professional services sectors.
Having created more than 2000 jobs, through $220 million worth of trade in the past three years, Social Traders has expanded its service in South Australia as the state looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Australia’s Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni welcomed Social Traders’ mission to further grow the sector in line with other government initiatives to drive future industries and entrepreneurship, particularly at this critical time for South Australia’s economic recovery.
“The Marshall Government is pleased to support the expansion of Social Traders into South Australia to stimulate growth and opportunities for South Australian businesses through their national procurement platform,” Mr Pisoni said.
“The Marshall Government’s record $16.7 billion investment in infrastructure will create more jobs for South Australians, increase training and skilling opportunities, and accelerate an emerging innovative sector which is committed to benefitting the South Australian community.”
Social Traders Managing Director Mike McKinstry said that South Australia is home to a rapidly growing social enterprise sector which has a critical role to play in the recovery from COVID-19.
“Social enterprise has a unique capacity to create employment opportunities for some of the most vulnerable – and that is even more important in the wake of COVID-19,” Mr McKinstry said.
“Equally, there is a growing expectation that the private sector contributes to the community beyond the value of its products and buying from social enterprise is a highly effective way of doing that.
“It’s a double-value spend – businesses buy goods or services they need, and they’re also buying priceless social impact at the same time.
“It’s not a donation, it isn’t goodwill and it’s not charity – these are legitimate and competitive commercial transactions. Most importantly, we know it works.”
Mr McKinstry said that already in 2020 the University of Adelaide and Adelaide City Council have engaged South Australian social enterprises, along with large national private sector operators such as John Holland, Ventia, CPB, DM Roads, BGIS, Lendlease and Laing O’Rourke.
Social Traders services includes tailored advice for buyers as to which social enterprises are a good fit for their needs. They also assist social enterprises to develop business and marketing strategies and provide a certification service that verifies their social purpose.
Mr McKinstry said that the State Government’s $16.7 billion infrastructure investment development pipeline represented a prime opportunity for social enterprise engagement and job creation.
“At a time when the Australian economy is struggling to find its feet, with unemployment at record levels and growing inequality It’s important that social enterprises are winning work and creating opportunities for the most disadvantaged,” Mr McKinstry said.
Carclew Creative Consultants : Supporting diversity in South Australia
Adelaide social enterprise Carclew Creative Consultants has seen unemployment halved and paid creative employment doubled for young participants in the past 12 months, through a range of support and a series of contracts with public and private sector customers.
The Creative Consultants program supports young people from diverse backgrounds into successful careers within creative industries, providing young creatives with professional development support and paid work in the vital early stages of their career.
The South Australian Government, University of Adelaide and SACAT (South Australian Civil and Administrative Affairs Tribunal) are among the customers to have engaged Creative Consultants services in the past year, in what is strong example of the power of social procurement.
Social enterprise Manager Paul Mayers said that contracts with large organisations were fundamental to the sustainability of the business and its ability to provide employment pathways.
“We’ve almost doubled our capacity in the past year, despite the pandemic, through these important procurement contracts,” Paul said.
“We know that there is a demand for our services and more importantly for the social impact that our business delivers. What we need is awareness of the value social enterprises like ours can bring to business.
“That’s why it’s encouraging to have Social Traders here in South Australia. We know from first-hand experience the opportunities their marketplace can facilitate and so this is a real opportunity for business and Government to invest in the future of South Australian young people and communities.
“Establishing yourself as a creative business or sole trader is tough work. Many young people give up on their hopes of meaningful employment because, although they are talented, they don’t have the skills or confidence to become fully established. The role of the Creative Consultant program is to provide essential support – and paid work – that will drive young creative professionals to succeed.
“This is why social enterprise procurement is very important. It’s will enable social enterprises to create opportunities that otherwise might not exist. And that’s important to every South Australian.”
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